Monday, December 31, 2012

Letters from Lowell Soldiers

The Lowell Sun published "Letters From Lowell Soldiers" regularly during the Great War.  I am reproducing this description and the letter in it's entirety below:

"Capt. Paul E. Kitteredge, whose death in France was announced only last Saturday, was a captain but two days when he was killed by a German shell, according to a letter written from France by Sergt. John T. McDermott of Co. M of the 101st regiment.  Sergt. McDermott is a well known Lowell boy and one of the closest friends the galant captain has.  He himself has been wounded in the leg and at the time of writing, Nov. 1, was recuperating in a hospital.  The wounded soldier is the son of Mr. and Mrs. M.J. McDermott and is one of the oldest members of Co. M.  He has seen seven years' service with the unit, having enlisted when he was but 16 years of age.  He was one of the best athletes of the old Ninth regiment and captain of the company basketball team for two years.  His father and two brothers are former member of the company.  Sergt. MdDermott served on the Mexican border and was formerly employed at the Lowell Opera House and the U.S. Cartridge Co.  His letter to his parents is as follows:

A.E. Forces, Nov. 1, 1918
Dear Parents: - I received your welcome letter all right and was glad to hear that all at home are well. I am in the hospital as I got wounded in the leg.
My best friend, Paul Kittredge was killed by a shell. He had been a captain only two days when he got his. He was one white boy. I tell you the company boys will miss him.
Well, I am on my cot while I am writing this but am wishing to get back to the boys. I was going to the officers' training school on the first of November, as I was next in line, but luck went against me and it will be some time before I get the chance again. I should worry, as I am just as well off, a sergeant. I am thankful to God that I came out with my life.
Hoping all the boys are well, and love to all,

The Lowell Sun, November 27, 1918, p.11.

Kittredge Park at the junction of  Andover and Nesmith Streets in the Belvidere section of Lowell is named in Paul Kittredge's honor.  He is buried in the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Armistice Day 11 November 1918

Lowell was a place of celebration November 11th, 1918 at 11:00 A.M.  Church bells and mill whistles rang out in celebration.  The World War was over.

Source:  The Lowell Sun, November 11, 1918.

"My Fellow-Countrymen - The armistice was signed this morning.  Everything for which America fought has been accomplished.  It will now be our fortunate duty to assist by example, by sober, friendly counsel and by material aid in the establishment of just democracy throughout the world." - Woodrow Wilson

On this Veteran's Day 94 years later we remember all that has been sacrificed for our freedom by all Veterans.  Thank you for your service.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Kearney Brothers in WW1

Kearney Square in Lowell used to be called Merrimack Square.  It is named for Lieut. Paul T. Kearney killed in action in France October 3, 1918.  It is one of the most historical and prominent spots in the city.

Source:  The Lowell Sun, November 4, 1918

Lieut. Paul T. Kearney was one of five sons of John Kearney and the late Elizabeth (Welch) of 142 Third Street in the Centralville section of the city.  Mr. Kearney  proudly displayed his 5 star service button.  Lieut. Kearney graduated from Green Grammar School, Lowell High School and Tufts.  He was employed by Hood Milk and Company in Boston.  He was 28 years old.  His body was returned to Lowell for his funeral and burial on August 8, 1921.

While driving through St. Patrick's Cemetery recently, I noticed the impressive stone for the Kearney brothers.  Four of them are buried together.

St Patrick's Cemetery, 1251 Gorham St., Lowell, MA

Thank you for your service.

Friday, September 7, 2012

First to Serve - Yankee Division

What does Lowell's response to the Civil War and Lowell's response to the Great War have in common?  Again, we were the first to respond to the call because we had active National Guard troops at the ready.

The 26th Yankee Division was organized August 13, 1917 by Major General Clarence R. Edwards.  It was organized by combining National Guard troops from all over New England.  It was the first division to arrive in France and the first to fight as the United States army not integrated into a French unit.

Source:  The Boston Globe, April 26, 1919 Souvenir Edition p2.

Yankee Division belt buckle 

Yankee Division Soldiers attributed to Lowell
 who paid the ultimate sacrifice

Pvt. Joseph Blanchard,  Supply Company, 102d Infantry, died of disease at Fort Devens April 13, 1918.
Corp. Bernard L Boisvert, 101st Engineer Train, killed in action October 27, 1918.
Pvt. Walter Bruce, Co M, 101st Infantry, died of wounds June 1918.
Pvt. Charles A. Buk, Headquarters Company,101st Infantry, killed in action June 1918.
Pvt. Philip Chalifoux, Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action July 10, 1918.
Pvt. John Connolly,  Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action November 1918.
Capt. Lorne L. Cupples, 102 Field Artillery, died of wounds October 1918.
Pvt. John (Stanley) Dzadolonis, Co G, 104th Infantry, died by accident in France May 1918.
Corp. George Garner, Co L, 102d Infantry, died in Lowell of wounds December 1918.
Pvt. Ralph G. Hurd,  Co G, 104th Infantry,  died of accident in France February 1918.
1st Lieut. Paul E.  Kittredge, 101st Infantry, killed in action November 1918.
Sgt. Frank Lyons, Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action July 15, 1918.
Pvt. Elias F Macheros, Co A, 101st Infantry, killed in action October 23, 1918.
Corp. Thomas M. Mann, Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action October 22, 1918.
Pvt. Walter Marr, Co I, 102d Infantry, killed in action July 22, 1918.
Pvt. Manuel Martin,Co G, 104th Infantry,  killed in action April 1918.
Sgt. John T. McDermott , Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action.
Pvt. Arthur McOsker, Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action July 16, 1918.
Pvt. Francis M. McOsker, Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action July 13, 1918.
Pvt. Athanasios Michaelopoulas, Co I, 103d Infantry, died of wounds, July 12, 1918.
Pvt. Edward A. Nelson, , 101st Infantry, died of wounds November 1918.
Corp. George R. Quessy, Battery F,102d Field Artillery.
Pvt. Thomas J. Quirk, Co G; 104th Infantry, died of pneumonia in France February 1918.
Pvt. Murien Rodain, Co G, 104th Infantry, killed in action July 20, 1918.
Pvt. Charles Roy, 104th Infantry, killed in action June 1918.
Corp. Gerald F. Silk, Battery F, 102d Field Artillery, died of wounds July 18, 1918.
Pvt. Peter Silva, Co G, 104th Infantry, killed in action April 1918.
Corp. Daniel M. Tully,  Co F, 101st Infantry, killed in action October 23, 1918.
Corp. Samuel F. Tully,, Co 1, 101st Infantry, killed in action.
John M. Warren, Headquarters Company, 101st Infantry, killed in action July 22, 1918.
Pvt. Joseph Worthy, Co M, 101st Infantry, killed in action July 1918.

Many of the above men are honored here in Lowell with squares or parks.  As you drive around New England see if you find any other tributes to the Yankee Division.  Here are some that I know of:

  • Route 128/95 beltway around Boston is the Yankee Division Highway
  • Logan Airport is named for General Edward Lawrence Logan of the Yankee Division
  • Camp Edwards on Cape Cod is named for YD Commander Maj. Gen. Clarence R. Edwards
  • Clarence R. Edwards Middle School, Boston, MA

Monday, August 20, 2012


I'm scanning some photos that belonged to my husband's grandfather.  Among them was a small photo labeled "Fitzie"

William Patrick Fitzgerald was the commander of Company M of the 26th Yankee Division.  He was killed in action in the fighting at Vaux.  In a letter Irving wrote home:

France, Aug. 3, 1918

My Dearest Mother;

I suppose you are looking blindly for mail from me, but to tell you the truth, I have been to busy lately that I haven't even had time to sleep, because it certainly wasn't safe to so go sleep where we were for fear we should never wake up again.

Things were certainly flying around for a while, take it from me. I came to near never seeing you people again that there was no fun in it. Quite a few of the boys are gone now. It is certainly too bad. We had quite a fight over here and the men in Co. M showed the boche that they were there all right, although we lost the best lieutenant in the regiment and Ma, he died in my lap. Just think of it!

He and I and a fellow by the name of Finnegan who lives in Gorham st. near Davis square, started out after a holeful of Germans, The lieutenant and I were in a shell-hole. Finnegan was right beside us. The lieutenant threw two bombs and was going throw a third when they saw us and shot him.

He fell on me and I was pretty shaky for a second, but soon got my nerves together and Finnegan and I started after them. All of a sudden I heard Finnegan's rifle shoot and then I saw the German who shot the lieutenant fall. Finnegan shot him through the chest—killed him as dead as a door-nail.

Then we started after the rest. We crawled in pretty close and the Germans saw us coming. They knew that if they didn't give up they would all be killed. So they came out with their hands up to Finnegan and myself. They were all crying, afraid we were going to kill them. We would have done so only there wasn't enough ammunition in my rifle so we took them prisoners, seven of them. So you see I didn't come over here for nothing.

Well, mother, I have good news for you this time. I am appointed the company clerk now and take care of all the company's paper work, which is some job just now as everything is upside down on account of being in the trenches. I have a typewriter and everything that goes with a real clerk, so you see I am slowly going up and will be at the top soon.

Tell grandpa I thought of him when I was capturing the prisoners and if I had some more bullets I would have shot one for him.

Your loving son,


From the Gold Star Record of Massachusetts:

Fitzgerald, William Patrick, First Lieutenant, Inf.; killed in action 15 July, 1918, at Vaux.
Enl. 9 March, 1908, Co. G, 9th Inf., M. V. M. Served on Mexican Border. Served as Corporal, Sergeant, and 1st Sergeant. Commissioned 2d Lieut. 22 May, 1916, Mass.N. G. Drafted into Federal service as 2d Lieut. 5 Aug., 1917, Co. G, 101st Inf., 26th Div. 1st Lieut. 23 Jan., 1918. Overseas 7 Sept., 1917.
Born 15 Dec, 1890, at Auburn, son of William Patrick (died 1900) and Catherine (Burke) Fitzgerald; brother of Daniel John (School of Military Aeronautics, Princeton, N. J.), Edward (Marine Corps, A. E. F.), Thomas Raymond (U. S. Navy), Joseph U. (Co. G, 101st Inf., 26th Div.), and Charlotte (wife of Richard A. White of NewYork). Married Mary Agnes Kelliher. Attended Massachusetts Agricultural School. Machinist.
Cited in G. O. No. 74, 26th Div., 1918; For gallantry and meritorious service. Recommended for posthumous award of D. S. C, for action at Vaux, 15 July, 1918; also for Croix de Guerre for action at Chemin des Dames 29 Feb., 1918.

In the photo you can see the tents where they slept in the woods.  Reading a newspaper sitting on a chair with his coat hung on a tree.  Guns at the ready..........

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lieut. Raymond B. Messer

Ray Messer was a student at Lowell Textile Institute class of 1917.  He was the son of Mr. & Mrs. Bradley A. Messer of 63A Street in Lowell.  He died in an airplane accident in France.  Messer Square was dedicated October 14, 1923 and is located at the junction of Chelmsford, Powell and Plain Street.  I found this drawing in the Lowell Sun March 13, 1955.

Here is the square enlarged so you can see it better:

I've been through this intersection many times but I never knew it was Messer Square.  Next time I go through this intersection I'll think of Ray Messer.  What would he have done with his life if he hadn't been killed in France fighting for our freedom?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Babe Ruth WW1 Draft

I wrote a guest post on Dave McKean's Lowell Irish blog today about Babe Ruth's visit to Lowell for the St. Patrick's School Alumni Banquet.  Give it a look at:

Dave does a great job researching and preserving Irish history in Lowell.  When he hooks up with Walter Hickey they are unstoppable.

Although not specifically Lowell related, I thought I'd post Babe Ruth's WW1 Draft Registration.

Courtesy - The National Archives

What is your present occupation? - Baseball
By whom employed? - Boston American
Where employed? - Fenway Park

Courtesy - The National Archives

Babe Ruth did not serve in either World War but he did his part by using his celebrity to raise money for the war effort.  Even in 2012 people are still fascinated by Babe Ruth!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Sinking of the Lusitania and the Lowell Connection

RMS Lusitania - Cunard Company

On May 7, 1915 the British steamship Lusitania was torpedoed by a German u-boat off the Irish coast on its way from New York to Liverpool.  The ship sank in 18 minutes with many Americans on board.  The United States had not entered the World War and would not for another two years.  Many people think that this event turned the United States against Germany.

On board the ship were four people with Lowell Connections.

First class passengers, Dr. Frederick Stark Pearson and his wife Mabel Ward Pearson.  Both born in Lowell they were married January 5, 1887.  Dr. Pearson, a Tufts graduate, was a highly successful engineer and entrepreneur who financed and built the Medina Dam in Texas.  Pearson, Texas is named for him and Natalia, Texas is named for his daughter.  They also had two sons.  They were residents of New York and also had homes in Great Barrington, England and Spain.  Their bodies were found and returned to New York for burial.

A second class passenger, Mrs. Jane Goodchild Worden of Riverside Street in Lowell.  Mrs Worden was traveling to Ireland to bring her aged mother back to Lowell to live.  Her body was never found.

Third class passenger Walter Dawson, an English native, resided in Lowell and worked at the Lowell Bleachery.  He made the trip to England to tend to his sick mother.  He survived.

The first to die from Lowell in the Great War were travelers not soldiers.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

The United States declared war on Germany April 6, 1917 as a direct result of German submarine warfare.  America had finally joined the Allies.  Neutrality was no longer feasible.  American lives and property had been lost.

In Lowell, many men had already joined the Canadian, British, French and Polish armies.  They could not wait. Private James McClennan of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces was killed in action April 7, 1916.

Over 6,799 Greater Lowell men and women served during the World War.  176 died either in training, illness, accident or killed in action.  They died defending our freedom.  We owe them a lot.

Thank you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Look up your WW1 Ancestor in 1940 US Census

The 1940 US Census was just released on Monday, April 2nd by the National Archives.  The US Census is released to the public after 72 years.   This is a great census to find your parents, grandparents and/or great grandparents. 

Many genealogy sites are rushing to get  these records on line as fast as possible. already has all the states up on it's site for free until April 10th.  You can also find them here:
All the sites are also working on an index so that you can search by name.  In the mean time if you know your ancestor's address you can search by enumeration district. 

Use the tools at the bottom and put in the cross streets.  If you know where they lived in Lowell you should be able to narrow it down to one enumeration district.  Keep a window open with google maps to help you out.  Remember that some street names have changed.  University Avenue used to be Moody Street in 1940.

It is a great resource for researching your WW1 ancestor.  My husband's grandfather, Irving Loucraft, a Sergeant in the 101st Infantry served with distinction in France during WW1.  He survived the war and was the holder of the Purple Heart with 2 clusters and the Silver Star.  Here he is in the 1940 Census in Lowell on Walker Street with his family.

1940 Census Image - Walker Street Lowell, MA
Irving Loucraft and family
E.D. 18-95

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lowell Doughboy Statue -Tribute of a Greatful Neighborhood

The Lowell Doughboy Statue is located at the intersection of Fletcher and Willie Streets in Lowell, MA.  It was dedicated June 3, 1923 in an impressive ceremony attended by thousands of people.  The square is located in front of the current Lowell Firefighters club.  They have an impressive mural which gives the statue a unique look.  This location used to house the Marine Club, The Broadway Social Club and  Butler Volunteer Firemen.  It was the Broadway Social Club who was responsible for purchasing and dedicating this monument.

The monument honors 36 acre men who gave their lives during World War One.  Imagine 36 men from one small neighborhood paid the ultimate price.  This shows the impact this war had on the city of Lowell.

 South Side -
April Joseph
Murray Stephen A
McDermott James C
Toner William H
Gearin George E
Mitchell William J
Michalopoulous Athenasios
Roy Charles J
Theodorou Christos
Wilber William F
Alix Armand
Chaput Philip

East Side  - "LEST WE FORGET"
Connolly John L
Flannery Edward J
Cranna John
Ricard Leo A
Manning Thomas M
Quinn Edward F
Kelley Duncan
Georgulias Efstrafios
Lyons John A
Worthy Joseph
Fletcher Carl E
Muraswsky, Joseph

West side - "LEST WE FORGET"
Wallace Charles
Trainor John J
Warren John M
Ryan John H
Mansour George
Macheras Elias
McCellen James W
O'Brien John A
MacLean A Stewart
O'Donoghue Michael T
Longtin Charles J
Ayotte Arthur J

At the statue dedication Major Edward L. Logan, Mayor John J. Donovan and Congressman John Jacob Rogers spoke.  I think the Congressman said it best,
"Let this statue be always a beacon star which will help you to strive onward that the lives of those it honors may not have died in vain."

Also known as Connolly Square named for Private John Leo Connolly,  Co. M 101st Regiment killed in action  - 23 Oct., 1918 at Belieu Bois, France.  Born 3 Aug., 1893, at Lowell, son of Michael and Bridget (Brown) Connolly (both born in Ireland); brother of Rev. Edward B. Connolly, O.M.I., of Colorado Springs, Colo., Frank, Henry J., Raymond, and Mary (wife of Fred Provencher). His occupation was a shipper at the Baker Chocolate Company, Boston.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Update - Mahlon Webb Dennett

I haven't been over to UMASS Lowell's North Campus lately to check out if there was any evidence of a plaque in the memory of Mahlon Webb Dennett, WW1 soldier who lost his life in France.  Thank goodness for the world wide web.  Wikimedia has a photo of a plaque on North Campus!  I'm not sure exactly where it is but it should be near Cumnock Hall.

Wikimedia has photos that are in the public domain.  So thank you Daderot whoever you are!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Gold Star Record - Massachusetts

A great resource is researching the soldiers who died while serving in World War One is THE GOLD STAR RECORD OF MASSACHUSETTS.   Published by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Commission on Massachusetts' Part in the World War in 1929.  Every public library in Massachusetts should have a copy of it.

The copyright has expired on this book so it is available on-line.

Here is an example of a soldier that from Lowell that was killed in action.

Lyons, Frank Joseph: killed in action 15 July, 1918 [near Vaux). Enl. 22 June, 1916, Co. M, 9th Inf., Mass. N. G. Served on Mexican Border. Reported for duty 26 March, 1917; mustered 31 March, Co. M, 9th Inf., Mass. N. G. (Co. M, 101st Inf., 26th Div.). Overseas 13 Dec, 1917.
Born 3 June, 1896, at Lowell, son of Patrick and Josephine (Sullivan) Lyons (both born in Ireland); brother of John. Married Orene Bernetl LaFleur. Child: Frances Elizabeth. Mill hand.  Square in Lowell named in his memory.

Monday, January 23, 2012

John Jacobs Rogers

John Jacob Rogers
born August 18, 1881 Lowell, MA
died March 28, 1925 Washington, DC

John Jacob Rogers was born in Lowell, Massachusetts to Jacob and Mary Howard (Carney) Rogers.  He served for twelve years as the Congressman for the 5th district.  He died at only 44 years of age from complications of appendicitis.

Representative Rogers was a graduate of Lowell High School earning the Carney Medal in 1899.  He was the only grandchild of Carney to earn that honor.  He went on to Harvard University and earned his law degree in 1907.  He was a Lieutenant in the Company K of the Mass 6th.  He volunteered as a private during World War 1 when he was a Congressman.  While in France in October 1917, the ocean liner he was on with Mrs. Rogers was attacked by a U-boat.  Shots were fired by the liner and the submarine was unable to fire a torpedo.

His wife continued his work as a champion for veterans when she won a special election for his seat after his untimely death.  She continued to represent the district until her death in 1960.  They did not have any children.  They are buried in the Rogers family plot at Lowell Cemetery.